There has been panic among Kano residents following an unusual increase in the number of deaths in the state.
The toll from the mysterious deaths that have hit Kano State has continued to rise. According to reports, no fewer than 190 people had been buried within four days in Kano and the cause of these deaths are not known.
The state imposed a lockdown shortly after recording its first COVID-19 case last week. At the moment, Kano has a total of 73 confirmed Coronavirus cases, according to NCDC.
Some people worry that the mysterious deaths in Kano may be linked to the deadly COVID-19. However, some worry it may be something else.
Undertakers who double as grave diggers in certain cemeteries in Kano state said the frequency at which they receive corpses these days is unusual when compared to the number of people they buried before the coronavirus outbreak.
Areas where an increase in deaths have been reported include; Zage, Kano Municipal, Tarauni, Gwale, Kurna, Dala, Chiromawa, Zango, Kofar Mata, Fagge, Kumbotso, and some local government areas outside the metropolitan like Bichi, Kunchi, Wudil, Gwarzo, and Shanono.
Adamu Umar, a cemetery guard at farm centre, said he buried over 17 people on Sunday alone, adding that the situation is scary, as it is unusual since he began working there in the last four years.
Bashir Mohammed, one of the undertakers at the Dandolo Cemetery in Goron Dutse, Dala Local Government Area of Kano State, said, “This is worrisome, we are becoming overwhelmed by what we are seeing here these days because to me, the way people are dying is not ordinary.”
Mohammed popularly known as Mai Sana’a, said between Saturday and Sunday, over thirty people were buried in the cemetery in contrast to maximum daily record of ten burials previously.
The figure of the dead buried in the three cemeteries excludes other people buried in dozens of burial grounds in the eight local government areas that constitute Kano metropolis, though those working in such cemeteries said they did not notice anything unusual.
Also, authorities in Kano, community leaders, families of the deceased and medical officials have given different opinions on the matter with the state ministry of health saying it was investigating the matter.
Tijjani Hussaini, the state’s executive secretary of the primary healthcare board, said they were yet to ascertain the cause of the said deaths, but that the situation had “sent residents panicking.”
“The investigation is prompted by reports that more deaths have been recorded in the past seven days. We want to know the number of persons already dead. We also want to investigate how they died,” he said.
“It is when we have a good idea; it is when we get the outcome of the findings that we can properly draw conclusions and brief the public.”
Mustapha Hikima, the chief medical director of Nassarawa Hospital, said the areas where deaths have been recorded are densely populated which makes the number insignificant.
“We don’t have the baseline information, but considering the high population size of Kano, the increase in the deaths is not significant,” he said.
He said the Ministry of Health had conducted a survey between April 13 and 19 to see the pattern of deaths in the state.
He added that “after the quick survey, the result had shown that there was no significant increase in the rate of death recorded in the state.”
He continued: “We should also take the time of the occurrence of the deaths into consideration. The time happens occasionally. So it is subjective to judge when a case happens within just three days. To me, this is not a serious problem because it happens sometimes. So I appeal to people to be calm.”
Governor Abdullahi Ganduje has directed thorough investigation to ascertain the cause of strange death.
Reacting to the development, Commissioner for Information, Muhammad Garba, who acknowledged the strange deaths, told journalists that government had swung into action to assess the matter.
Although Garba disagreed that the sudden rise in the case of death in Kano was related to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), he noted that Governor Ganduje had directed the state’s ministry of health to investigate it.
The Kano government says it has activated community informants structure of the World Health Organisation (WHO) to report deaths and cause of deaths and has also deployed officers in all cemeteries to count bodies brought in for burial every day.
The development has thrown many residents of Kano into fear. Some suspect a possible community transmission of the ravaging COVID-19 within the state capital.
A number of Kano residents have taken to Twitter and Instagram to express their fears following the increase in death.